I’ll be honest—I hate dieting. Just thinking about the word “diet” is an automatic downer for my chocolate-loving self. Luckily, my waistline has survived the holidays relatively intact, but my wallet hasn’t fared so well.
So come January 1, 2015, I’m taking 14 days to put my wallet on a diet. If your wallet’s eyes have grown bigger than its “stomach,” join me in this 14-day money challenge!
14-Day Money Challenge 101
The goal of this challenge is to do one thing each day to earn instead of spend. As you try each day’s challenge, you may think of more challenges to add—go for it! Even better, add your ideas in the comments section here so other Krazy Coupon Ladies can benefit as well!
Day 1: What would you do with a bit (or a lot) of extra cash?
Day 1 is about setting yourself up for success. Let’s just say at the end of this challenge you’ve earned or saved $100. What would you use it for?
- Your challenge: Let yourself dream—what would you do with an extra $100—or $500? Now number a piece of paper 1-14 (or do this on a spreadsheet). Each day, you’ll write down what you’ve earned and total it so you can track your progress towards your dream.
Day 2: Round up all of your unused gift cards.
If you haven’t spent or re-gifted them yet, you probably won’t (that is, unless you just got them all yesterday). Stack them, count them, and write down the total. Now it’s time to turn them into cash.
- Your challenge: You have lots of options to turn those unused gift cards into cash—pick one and just do it. Some options we love: Coinstar Exchange and Gift Card Granny.
Day 3: Go on a coin scavenger hunt.
You made some nice cash yesterday and it felt good! Now it’s time to do the same with your spare change.
- Your challenge: Search your drawers, cabinets, old purses and wallets, under couch cushions, in your car’s glove box and anywhere else loose change may be hiding. Then turn those coins into dollars. You can visit the bank, get coin sleeves and do it yourself for 100% return, or you can use a coin counting service like Coinstar. You can also check with your bank to see if they have a coin counting machine—a lot of banks will do it for free if you’re an account holder.
Day 4: Start using at least one cash or rewards app.
There are so many you can choose from—check out some of our past articles like The 6 Best Earning Apps, How to Earn Hundreds Per Year with Swagbucks, and 3 Ways to Earn Cash from Your Grocery Receipts for some of our favorites.
- Your challenge: Install the app of your choice and start using it to earn!
Day 5: Load all of your store loyalty cards onto the Key Ring app.
We know you’ll need to shop for something in the next 9 days—so it’s time to get serious about loyalty card rewards. These can generate cash, coupons, points and other “earned” income.
- Your challenge: Load all of your loyalty cards onto the Key Ring app so you’ll always have them handy (you can read this post to learn how).
Day 6: Find something to sell that you already own.
The start of a new year is a great time to reduce clutter and downsize. Plus, you can make extra cash when you sell things you no longer need.
- Your challenge: Go shopping in your closets, cupboards and garage to find at least one thing you can sell. Selling clothes? Check out this post. Selling something on eBay? Use this article for help. Selling an old smart phone? This post can help you get more money for it. Selling something on Craigslist? This article can help you “flip” what you have.
Day 7: Track down and eliminate fees.
Hidden fees can produce a constant drain on your efforts to earn and save. If you don’t watch your accounts carefully you may be paying fees you didn’t authorize and may not owe.
- Your challenge: Take 30 minutes and a highlighter to look over recent bills from each of your accounts. Do you see fees or charges you don’t recognize? Highlight those items and contact your vendors. To find out about which fees to especially watch out for, read ATM Fees You Should Never Pay, 7 Credit Card Fees You Should Never Pay and 4 Cell Phone Fees You Should Never Pay.
Day 8: Nab a freebie.
Who doesn’t love free stuff? I know I do! Getting something you want or need for free will add cash to your bottom line and put a smile on your face. Best of all, it’s easy!
- Your challenge: Snag something for free! A few of our past articles will give you ideas—How to Get Anything for Free with Freecycle, Are You Paying for These Commonly Free Items and 7 Sites to Get Free Samples Without Filling Out Surveys—and be sure to follow KCL’s Freebies, Deals & Steals on Pinterest!
Day 9: Do a free activity.
No matter how serious you are about saving and earning, no one can sit at home thinking about finances all of the time! It’s time to get out and discover the wonderful world of free activities. Best of all, if you typically spend $20 or $30 for a night out with your partner or friends, you can bank that amount!
- Your challenge: Find a free substitute for the paid activities you usually enjoy. Here are a few ideas—visit your city’s website and browse free events, use freebie movie or theater tickets you got from Day 8, check out a local park, or find out about free days at local museums, zoos and theaters.
Day 10: Gas up (for as little as possible).
Since I’m still working my way out of debt, I find myself very particular about where I buy my gas. With this challenge, you’ll learn how to find the cheapest local gas station.
- Your challenge: This article lists 8 free gas finder apps. Choose your favorite, download it, and start using it to find the cheapest gas in your area.
Day 11: Cut the cable (or something else of your choice).
Yes, it’s time. You’ve been doing great, and now it’s time to trade something you want for something you want more (like meeting your goal from Day 1).
- Your challenge: Cut out cable or something else that’s no longer necessary (an expensive gym membership maybe?) that you pay every month. This post will teach you how to cut cable without giving up the programs and movies you love.
Day 12: Waste not, spend not.
Part of earning and saving is using up what you have before buying more. So today you’ll discover what you have on hand, and resolve to use that up before buying more.
- Your challenge: Take a tour through your closets, cabinets, refrigerator and pantry. Find out what you have and begin using those items first—don’t let yourself buy more of something until you’ve used what you already own.
Day 13: Open a new savings account that isn’t linked to anything.
How is this going to help you earn and save? When your extra cash resides in a savings account that isn’t linked to a debit card, a checking account or online transfer service, it’s much harder for you to get your funds in a hurry. This will protect you from giving into all of those impulse purchases!
- Your challenge: This post includes online and brick-and-mortar banks with savings accounts—all of which will pay you if you pick them! Choose one, open your savings account, be sure it is not linked to any other accounts, and then bank the cash back as earnings!
Day 14: Begin the 27-Day Couponing Challenge.
Now that you have a little extra cash in your pocket (or hopefully in your savings account!) you can start wisely spending some of your earnings. So keep up the momentum by revamping (or refreshing) your approach to shopping with KCL’s 27-Day Couponing Challenge!
- Your challenge: Begin the 27-Day Couponing Challenge here.